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  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointment’s to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Eddie Izzard

Comedian talks creepy role on 'Hannibal,' upcoming Detroit date.

Photo: photo by Amanda Searle., License: N/A

photo by Amanda Searle.

Eddie Izzard is so publicly open and honest that it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that we know him without ever meeting him. He’s openly a transvestite and openly passionate about politics, but did you know that he ran 43 marathons in 51 days in 2009? Or that he wanted to be a dramatic actor before he became a comedian?

The world should be glad that his career took him where he did, because Izzard is a very funny man. He’s also incredibly intelligent, and a quality actor. Onstage, his style is irreverent and mumbling. He’ll say the most outlandish things almost as an afterthought. He looks at the most inane things and offer an alternative viewpoint. “Bees make honey,” he once said. “Isn’t that strange? Do spiders make chutney?”

Izzard will be performing at the Detroit Opera House on Tuesday, the first time he’s been here since 2008. “I went there looking for walls to kick footballs (soccer balls) against; that’s what I remember doing,” he says. “I try to find car parks, and then I can find a wall and bounce a ball off it. That’s a sort of mantra-like thing that I get into. I remember doing that in Detroit and finding some good walls to kick footballs off. Good gigs though.”

Izzard has been all over our TV screens recently, thanks to his role on the NBC show Hannibal as Dr. Abel Gideon, who met an unpleasant demise when Hannibal Lector basically butchered him into steaks. Prior to that, though, Izzard was wonderful in the role; creepy, darkly witty, and frankly terrifying. 

“Doing Hannibal is obviously an extreme gig, but Bryan Fuller is a great show and series producer, and I like working with him,” Izzard says. “There’s baggage if you come from comedy going into drama. I wanted to do drama before I did comedy, so my journey’s been slightly back to front. I’ve always thought that if you go from comedy to playing someone psychotic or twisted in a certain way, that people almost accept it. Something in that is also linked to the dangerous psychotic behavior.”

Izzard’s current tour, Force Majeure, is the most extensive comedy tour ever undertaken, and it will see him visit some pretty out-of-the-way places. “I met a guy from Katmandu in the streets of New York,” he says. “He had good English, and he said that he thought I could do a gig there. He was a student. I thought that I only need to play to a hundred people or something, just to get in there. That’s going to be fun.”

As Izzard points out, comedians are faced with different problems than, say, musicians, when they tour. A band can show up in Italy and play the same set they previously played in Japan. Comedians have to consider the respective languages. Izzard is expanding his audience by learning one new language after another. 

“I’m now touring France in French,” he says. “I’m playing the Olympia, 2,000 seats sold out. In Germany, I played two months in Berlin in German. I just started Spanish — did a week in Madrid. On June 6, I’m going to come out of the tour and fly to Normandy in France, and I will be attending the commemoration ceremonies for that day and what happened 70 years ago. 7 p.m., I’ll do the show in German, 8 p.m. in English, and 9 p.m. in French as a tribute to those who fought for democracy and freedom in the Second World War — and since the Second World War. That’s a tribute to Germany and how they proved Hitler totally wrong. He said that democracy can’t work — you can’t have a country working on democracy. Through democracy, they have one of the most powerful economies in the world. Stuff you, Hitler.”

Izzard will be arriving in Detroit just as the last bit of tidying up is being done following Ferndale Pride. While he describes himself as a “straight transvestite” and a “male lesbian,” his honesty has inevitably led him to be viewed as a positive role model for those in the LGBT community. 

“I try to be a spokeperson and a banner waver for myself,” he says. “In my head, I didn’t quite want to become the poster child for anybody until I felt worthy of being that, but I try and just be positive, be honest, and I say that if people have a problem with it, there are psychiatrists that other people can go and see to deal with their problem with my sexuality, as opposed to my problem with my sexuality. It’s a genetic card handout that you’re given when you’re born, and so I’ve just been honest with it as opposed to just being secretive with it from behind closed doors, which leads to a load of hellish problems.”

To finish, and to tie in with the band on this week’s cover, we ask Izzard about a skit he once did questioning whether a vampire would still be hurt by a cross if the top fell off and it was just a capital ‘T.’ 

“It should be that anytime a vampire sees a vertical line crossed with another line, and any architectural structure has those lines, he’ll say “Oh, I can’t walk past that,’” he says. “Every time they walk across a crossroads in the road, they’ll do the same. They’d have enormous difficulties just moving around. I’ve always been fascinated by the vampire thing in the sense that I don’t understand why it’s fascinating. It seems to be a straight woman thing. The whole bitten on the neck thing never got me.”

Give it time, Eddie.

Eddie Izzard plays the Detroit Opera House at 8 p.m. on Tuesday June 3; 1526 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-237-7464; $53.10-$73.55.

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